Disabled student battles challenges but overcomes them daily

Uzi Darwiche/ Staff Writer 

Disability? What disability?

That’s the attitude of one of the most inspiring young men that I’ve ever met, who studies right here at FIU.

His name is Gabriel Geula and he is twenty-years young.

Originally from Queens New York, he came to South Florida in 2016 to study business administration.

Geula was born with cerebral palsy, a movement disorder caused by damage to the brain, and has been in a wheelchair all his life.

His story personally inspired and compelled me to find out more about him and I am now proud to call him my friend.

Since risking it all to move to South Florida, his life has significantly improved.

“It wasn’t easy at first but looking back I can say it’s the best decision I ever made,” said Geula.

Having lived with his family all of his life, he wanted to become independent.

“At first, they were worried,” he said, “they looked after me all of my life and now I was going out on my own, and because of my condition, they were afraid I would have a really difficult time.”

“That,” he says, “is the problem with society in general. Human beings, sometimes even family, can bear preconceptions or misconceptions altogether about people who are different. Some people simply choose to avoid us, others simply look on us and treat us differently. What they end up doing is unintentionally underestimate our capabilities.” After all this time, both his family and friends are astonished and proud of his achievements.

Geula doesn’t see his condition as a disability, but as a challenge granted to him by God to make him a better person.

And this I can tell you for sure, do not underestimate this warrior!

Apart from his classes, Geula frequents the gym with his physical trainer Mitch Holeve from Dania Beach, Florida. If you see his videos, which he posts to inspire others, you may think you are watching a movie about an action-packed superhero.

He trains like a boss!

“I’m the kind of person who likes to throw himself into the fire and see what happens. If I didn’t believe in myself, I would still be living at home with my family” Geula said.

“As I look back I’m proud at how far I have come. It was hell at first, but two years later I feel great.”

Geula’s message to all of us is that each individual should be their own advocate, and since then his story has inspired many of his friends including me.

“Nobody knows what you need better than yourself,” he said.

The amazing people at the Disability Resource Center have been very supportive and have helped him overcome many of his challenges on campus.

He feels FIU is a very positive, dynamic environment and has no complaints.

He’s the kind of guy who feels comfortable laughing at himself and in turn making those around him feel comfortable.

Geula does not allow his condition to define his life. Instead, he chooses to bring out the true man on the inside.

He is a legend in the making!


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash.

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